The following chart shows who holds U.S. equities, including foreign shares traded in the U.S.. at the end of March 2011.    Notice that 36 percent of the market value of shares were held by the household sector.  Our good friend, Charles Biderman of TrimTabs, does points out that the household sector includes “among other things, hedge funds, endowments, non-profit organizations, and direct purchases of equities by investors.”  Furthermore, according to the Federal Reserve,

financial assets and liabilities of the household sector are largely derived as residuals because reports on the balance sheet activities of households are generally not available, except intermittently. In other words, the FFA starts with known economy wide totals for individual transaction categories and then amounts reported to be held by other sectors are deducted, leaving the household sector with the remainder. For most transaction categories, such as home mortgage debt and time deposits, this method seems reasonable because the household sector is the largest holder. Yet uncertainty about the accuracy of the asset and liability estimates in the FFA household sector remains and at times, the FFA estimates have been in question because of their residual nature.

Nevertheless, the chart does give a decent snapshot of the major holders of U.S. equities.   Stay tuned, we will be back with more analysis on this topic.  Click on chart for better resolution.

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BR adds: Regular readers may recall that I have criticized some of Charles Biderman’s forecasts and commentary as disastrously wrong — see this, this, this and this — but I’ve found the money flows from TrimTabs to be what they do best.

Category: Investing, Markets

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

4 Responses to “Who Owns the U.S. Equity Market?”

  1. vader says:

    The remaining 38% comprises the ―household‖ sector. This sector includes, among other things, hedge funds, endowments, non-profit organizations, and direct purchases of equities by investors.

    This figure gets used to show that the average joe has a stake in equities. But this disputes that use.

  2. Greg0658 says:

    1% in those pillar structure banks and 7% by those insurance paper pushers .. that is what caught my eye – the actual push off of the mess from Those Two

  3. Recommend that Table L-213 of the Flow of Funds data be reviewed, especially line 23 and the footnotes. The pie chart includes some items which are not part of domestic market capitalization.

  4. constantnormal says:

    demographics tend to get obliterated by charts of averages like this one …

    … considering that it is widely reported in financial circles that the average Bananamerican has socked away only a small fraction of what they will need for retirement, saves little, and that is almost entirely in mutual funds. So who owns all that stock? Nonprofits? Unlikely.

    A more likely scenario is that the uppermost 1% own the largest fraction of the stock market, about the same as all the pensions and insurance companies and mutual funds combined.

    I suggest that the title of that wedge of the pie chart, “Households and nonprofits”, be changed to “Baronies and nonprofits”. For the robber barons, y’see …